In a nutshell
This study evaluated the effects of aquatic physical therapy on improvement in fatigue symptoms and quality of life (QoL) in patients with breast cancer (BC). The data showed that aquatic physical therapy reduced fatigue symptoms and improved the QoL in women with BC.
Breast cancer (BC) is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide. BC treatment often causes fatigue and reduces the QoL of patients. Exercise training was shown to be safe during and after cancer treatment and can improve physical function, quality of life (QoL), and cancer-related fatigue in patients with BC.
Aquatic (water-based) exercise is recommended for these patients due to a lower risk of injuries. Aquatic physical therapy is defined as an exercise in lukewarm water, with assistance and resistance of warm water to relieve pain and relax the muscles. It is important to evaluate the effects of aquatic physical therapy on fatigue symptoms and QoL in patients with BC.
Methods & findings
This study analyzed 5 other studies and involved 356 women with BC. Patients underwent aquatic physical therapy (152 patients) or control therapy (204 patients) as their rehabilitation program. Control therapy included standard physical exercise, yoga, pilates, or any land-based exercises. Fatigue symptoms, waist circumference, and the QoL related to the patients' health were evaluated.
Aquatic physical therapy significantly reduced fatigue symptoms compared with usual care.
Aquatic physical therapy significantly improved health-related QoL scores compared with land-based exercise.
Aquatic physical therapy did not show any improvement in reducing the waist circumference compared with usual care.
The bottom line
This study concluded that aquatic physical therapy reduced fatigue symptoms and improved the QoL in women with BC.
The fine print
The sample sizes for the studies analyzed were very small. Larger studies at different institutions are necessary to fully evaluate the benefits of aquatic physical therapy for patients with BC.
Published By :
Aug 04, 2022